Minister Malcolm Noonan announces six new Biodiversity Officers in 2022

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Six new Biodiversity Officers to be recruited in six local authorities around the country by the end of 2022.

Speaking at the National Biodiversity Conference Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform announced a dedicated resource of six new Biodiversity Officers to be recruited in six local authorities around the country by the end of 2022. This will be a pilot programme in advance of a national roll-out. The programme is being delivered by the Heritage Council and the County and City Management Association (CCMA) with the support of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Funding of €600,000 has been allocated for 2022 to accelerate the pilot programme, with a view to a further rollout in 2023/24.

The move represents a further practical step in the acceleration of Ireland’s National Biodiversity Action Plan in response to the biodiversity crisis and follows up on a Programme for Government commitment to ensure that all local authorities have a sufficient number of biodiversity and heritage officers among their staff complement.

Announcing the initiative today, Minister Noonan said:
“We need to connect top-down and bottom-up approaches to biodiversity loss. Local authorities have a key role in relation to ensuring that our national policies on biodiversity are implemented and integrated on the ground. Biodiversity Officers can ensure that this happens by putting biodiversity front and centre of local authority operations. They will be the local, public face of biodiversity activities, bringing action and awareness among communities of the benefits of biodiversity”.

Chairperson of The Heritage Council, Martina Moloney, said:
“This is a hugely positive development which will go a long way towards addressing some of the major biodiversity issues that confront us in this country on a local and national level. Our local authority Heritage Officer Network has been of enormous benefit to heritage in this country, and our role in delivering this new network of Biodiversity Officers, in partnership with the CCMA and Local Government, will see these crucial appointments deliver similarly successful results.”

CEO of the Heritage Council Virginia Teehan commented:
“Through the rollout of the next phase of the Biodiversity Officer network, the Heritage Council is ready to play its part in ensuring the public has access to the advice and information it needs to strengthen biodiversity in local communities. Public awareness of the biodiversity crisis has never been more acute and this development has come at the perfect time.”